General Public: Key driver analysis

Read more about how the key drivers of trust have been identified

Our Key Drivers Analysis ranks different aspects of the sector’s image and performance to understand which factors underpin its reputation, and their relative importance.

In this instance, we’ve chosen the key performance indicator of ‘trust’ as the best overall measure of reputation strength. This statistical method reveals underlying associations in the data which conscious choices by respondents may obscure.

The Key Driver Analysis identifies the variables that matter most in driving public attitudes and behaviour and have the greatest potential for improving trust. The analysis refines the variables from different questions and identifies the overall top priorities for action, with a share of importance for each.

What are the most important drivers of trust?
We’ve run a factor analysis* on a list of attitudinal statements (shown below) which we’ve identified as strongly or moderately associated with overall trust in the sector. Four factors were extracted from this analysis: these are groups of related issues that are most important in driving trust. The statements listed within each factor are the specific themes that should underpin trust-building communications.

Being ‘Reliable and Responsible’ is identified as the most important area that underpins trust in the sector across all waves of this study. ‘Ethics and Transparency’ and ‘Science & Innovation’ have a similar share of importance (especially in the most recent wave), well ahead of the fourth factor; ‘Good Employer/Citizen’.

Share of importance in driving Trust %

Wave 1 (July ’20) – 47
Wave 2 (October ’20) – 47
Wave 3 (January ’21) – 49
Wave 4 (March ’21) – 47


Reliable & Responsible


  • Are reliable and keep their promises
  • Are good at what they do
  • Behave responsibly
  • Are open and transparent about their activities
  • Are well led
  • Have my best interests at heart
  • Share my values

Share of importance in driving Trust %

Wave 1 (July ’20) – 18Wave 2 (October ’20) – 18
Wave 3 (January ’21) – 19
Wave 4 (March ’21) – 23

Science & Innovation


  • Produce effective medicines
  • Ensure the medicines they produce are safe
  • Clearly communicate the possible side effects of their medications
  • Invest a lot of money into high quality research of new medicines
  • Use the latest, cutting-edge technology
  • Produce medicines that people need
  • Produce effective medicines
  • Play a leading role globally in discovering new medicines

Share of importance in driving Trust %

Wave 1 (July ’20) – 25Wave 2 (October ’20) – 24
Wave 3 (January ’21) – 23
Wave 4 (March ’21) – 23


Ethics & Transparency


  • Act according to the highest ethical standards
  • Are open and transparent about clinical trial results
  • Are open and transparent about medicine pricing
  • Price medicines fairly
  • Ensure access to new medicines for as many people as possible
  • Minimise the environmental impact of their operations and products
  • Focus on what patients need
  • Make a positive contribution to societal challenges and issues

Share of importance in driving Trust %

Wave 1 (July ’20) – 11Wave 2 (October ’20) – 11
Wave 3 (January ’21) – 9
Wave 4 (March ’21) – 7


Good Employer/Citizen


  • Treat their employees fairly
  • Provide good jobs for people
  • Employ highly skilled staff
  • Make a positive financial contribution to the economy
  • Create lots of jobs in the UK

Ipsos MORI

All respondents – all waves combined (8001)

*Factor analysis is a statistical technique used to examine the pattern of correlations between attributes. It allows us to reduce a large number of attributes down to a more manageable number of representative concepts.

Last modified: 20 September 2023

Last reviewed: 20 September 2023